Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas 2015

I got this little jumper for my God-daughter Katherine when she was almost 2, now Helena gets to wear it!
Christmas morning
hanging with Grandpa
Smiles with Grandma
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve

Christmas as come and done, and I feel like our celebration this year was sorta a waste.  I did a lot of work, and I find myself questioning what it was all for.  Last year after the holidays Chris and I decided we would be staying home (Denver) for the holidays.  I had really looked forward to that.  Once we moved and I knew it would be different, I just felt different.  About a week and a half before Christmas Chris and I laid in bed and discussed what to do for dinner.  I knew I didn't want to spend Christmas in Alamogordo.  What I really wanted was to erase time and spend our holiday in Denver.  The next best thing (I guess) was to drive the 3 hours to Albuquerque and spend it with my family.  
Christmas Eve eve Chris and I opened presents and put out the rest of the presents for Helena under the tree.  I made biscuits and gravy in the morning and Helena opened her gifts while we FaceTimed with Grandma and Grandpa Sweat.  We left around noon.  That afternoon/evening drove to my Aunt Patti and Uncle Jeff's house.  They have a beautiful new house in Corrales that has an amazing view, it's breathtaking.  It was a fun to see a lot of family and just hang out.  Helena looked super cute in her Christmas dress.  I made a gender reveal cake for my family to tell them the news that baby is boy, and it turned out ok.  The family got the idea and are thrilled the family is getting another boy! Our family seems to have a pretty solid pattern of alternating boy girl boy girl.  
Christmas Day was sorta boring especially since my family doesn't socialize.  My dad watched basketball all day long, Chris watched work videos, I'm not too sure what my mom did.  That morning Helena and I went to my friend Michelle's parents house to hangout for a little bit.  During Helena's nap time I cooked a pizza appetizer thing and some guacamole.  For dinner we had tamales.  This is something I want to drastically change for my family, especially now that we are a family of four.  I want to actually create memories and traditions for Christmas Day.  Growing up in my family Christmas Day has never really been that exciting.  The big day as always been Christmas Eve.  So any fun traditions you have for Christmas Day please share!
By that evening the big news was the massive snow storm coming into southeastern NM.  My big fear was the state highways, specifically highway 380 which takes us east before heading south to Alamogordo.  In my ideal world we would have just stayed in Albuquerque until Monday, but the bigger problem was Chris didn't pack his correct amount of pills.  So we had to be back in Alamogordo on Sunday, at the latest.  So we decided to leave on Saturday.  On Saturday there was another family get together, which we missed.  And that just sucked.  So the one full day we were in Albuquerque (Christmas Day) we didn't even really do anything.  
Who knows when we'll live in a place that feels like home again for me to really feel like I want to create traditions and memories but I honestly want to get there already.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 2015

Christmas Festival Downtown Alamogordo
1st time seeing Santa after a 1 year absence, she wasn't too thrilled.
She loves these blow-up figures
She did pretty good with the ornaments, we had to fatalities this year!
She warmed up nicely to Santa at the El Paso Mall.
So focused helping with the Gingerbread house.
Our mantel, Helena loved the lights!
3rd Santa visit was a success at the Alamogordo library!
Checking out the largest pistachio in the world!
She had a blast helping me make sugar cookies!
I made her, her very own felt Christmas tree!
Dad put up Christmas lights and got an owl!

Who knows if I'll ever catch up on blogging, I really want to blog more, document more and remember more.  I miss my blog, I miss a lot of things, and I feel this is one thing I have control over.  That I can easily incorporate back into my weekly schedule.  
We've been busy this month.  
At the beginning of the month there was a little Christmas Festival in downtown Alamogordo.  Downtown exists of one block, but we had a good time.  There was a live Nativity, Santa, and hot chocolate.  This was her first experience since last Christmas meeting Santa, and she was scared.  Over the course of the month we saw Santa two more times, and by the third time she was ok with him.  She'll now say Santa and is fascinated by his hat.  
In the middle of the month we took the drive to El Paso for some shopping.  The drive is about an hour and half and it was crazy.  I don't see us going back anytime soon.  The mall was insane.  Just crazy.  We did get some shopping done, but the experience wasn't pleasant.  I made a reservation for Helena to have a sit down with Helena and brought her Christmas dress and everything.  Upon arrival for our reservation the whole camera and computer system had gone down.  It was beyond frustrating.  I had made a dinner reservation for an hour after the meeting with Santa so we didn't have time to hang out.  Thankfully Santa came over, and that gave Helena the opportunity to warm up to him.  He gratefully took a selfie with us, so it wasn't a total waste, but I'm sad that we won't have an official Santa picture this year.  
Closer to the end of the month Santa was making an appearance at  the Alamogordo library.  So we checked that out.  This was a success, and had I known Helena would be good I would have brought her Christmas dress.  But we got a somewhat decent picture!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Letter

I always regret not writing a Christmas letter, which after such a life altering year I really should have just done it.  Better late than never.

Dearest Friends and Family,

Greetings from Alamogordo, New Mexico!  Yup, this year has yet again brought lots of unexpected change to the Sweat family!  Let's recap shall we?

In January both Chris and Helena got baptized at our church by the same pastor that married us.  We had a huge brunch afterwards and had a truly blessed day and are so excited that Chris and Helena are truly part of Gods family.

In February Helena had swim lesson at the gym!  She did great and continues to love the water!

In April both April and Helena went on a girls trip to Lakeland, Florida to spend time with April's family friend Tina and the Witty Family.  We had a great time, and Helena did fantastic on the flights!  We had planned a trip to the beach but Helena got sick the night before we left, so the beach trip is still on the list.
Once we returned back from Florida we got the devastating news that Chris had lost his job.
We had lots of family visit this month, a visit from Great-Grandma Mog and Grandma Sweat, and a trip over Easter weekend from Grandpa and Grandma Madrid.
April also got a new position and promotion at CenturyLink to Marketing Analyst!

In May we celebrated Helena's First Birthday with an Owl themed party!  She had a great time and she celebrated by taking her very first steps on her first birthday!  ...It truly is amazing the change that happens in the first twelve months of life.
Grandpa and Grandma Madrid were there for the party, and Grandpa and Grandma Sweat visited of Memorial Day weekend!

In June we traveled to Scottsbluff, NE for a possible work opportunity for Chris.  It was a fun little get away.  

In July we celebrated the 4th of July with the Sweat Family and had a lot of fun at a nearby park watching fireworks.  The Madrid grandparents also visited for a annual outing to a Colorado Rockies game.

Our family got two big unexpected pieces of news in August.  The first was the news of baby number two on the way (a baby BOY coming April 2016)!  The second was when April's work announced a 1000 person lay-off, and that April was one of the one's being laid off.
After 12 years with CenturyLink (Qwest) April was laid off the beginning of September.  By the end of the month Chris was getting recruited by Aramark to work at a hospital in Alamogordo, NM.  By October First we had decided to move.  Our beautiful house was on the market 2 and half days before going under contract and closed on 11/30.  Our Halloween was spent with movers at our house and staying the night in a hotel room.  

We're still getting used to living in a super small town and we miss our home and friends desperately.  A huge blessing in all of this change is the opportunity for Chris gives April the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, which is something she has wanted since she had to return to work after Helena was born.  
Our baby boy is happy and healthy and we are treasuring our time with Helena as a only child.  April is trying not to focus too much on the fact that she will be a mom of two under two (granted even if only for a few weeks) next year and focus on her beautiful family.
We are grateful for all of God's blessings for our parents coming to visit us as much as they did and trying to make Alamogordo feel like home.

Who knows what 2016 will bring, but what we do know is that it'll bring more life altering love!  We wish you and yours the same in the New Year!

Blessings and Cheers, 
Chris, April, Helena, and baby boy

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What I Miss

just a cute picture from today

We've been in Alamogordo for a month now.  fastest month ever.  I've been thinking a lot about what I miss about Denver, and what I don't miss about Denver. 
I miss a lot.

I miss the unlimited dining options.  We spontaneously drove to Las Cruces (an hour away) on Saturday and we got so excited because they had a Red Lobster and a Olive Garden!!!  It was so exciting.  Seriously. 

I miss the quick trips to King Soopers.  We live on the southern end of town, on the golf course.  Everything is near by, but King Soopers was 3 minutes away from my house in Thornton.  The nearest grocery store is the Super Wal-Mart which is 7 minutes away. Speaking of grocery stores, there are only 3 grocery stores here. 

I miss the sports energy.  Specifically the Bronco's.  Even though I only attended a handful of games I miss knowing that when the Bronco's played at home, they were only playing "down the street" ...about 15 miles south on I-25.  That energy is electric.  Along with that I miss everyone wearing Bronco gear.  The big team to follow here is the Cowboys (excuse me while I gag). 

I miss the unlimited resources.  The things to do, the places to shop.  I don't want to get into specifics right now, but there is only one OB in town, so even if I wanted a second opinion on this pregnancy, I would have to drive to either Las Cruces or El Paso to get it. 

Helena and I have kept busy, but the story time here at the library (there is only one) is geared more towards older kids, so there is no point in going.  The only indoor play area is at the McDonalds (again only one).  The parks aren't that great.  No splash pads for the summertime. 

No shopping.  The mall is laughable, also no play area in the mall.  No Target, no Hobby Lobby, nothing really.  If you can't get it at the Super Wal-mart, Amazon Prime it is (or so I've been told, I've never been a big Amazon shopper. I suppose that is about to change). 

You don't drink the water here.  The water here is gross.

I miss my gym.  There are a couple of gyms here, but I haven't even bothered checking them out.  Any gym won't be able to compare to what I've been used to for the past 7 years at Lifetime Fitness.   

I miss my house.  I desperately miss my house.  We closed on Monday.  And even though I feel like our chances of ending back up in Denver are pretty slim, I feel like maybe we should have just rented the house out, so had the right opportunity brought us back to Denver, we would have gotten our house back. 
I find myself constantly curious about what the weather is like in Denver.  And what's going on there. 
I don't miss the cold, yet.  But I do know I'll eventually miss the seasons. 

There are a few perks.  Since there is nothing, there is no traffic.  The speed limit is either 35 or 40, and you can get anywhere in about 7 minutes.  So runny errands is super easy, and quickly done.  Everyone is super nice.  There is no hustle and bustle and it's more laid back.  The sky at night is amazing.  No city lights, so the stars are super clear.